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Trees planted in honor of three great citizens

In-your-honor1A Tree Dedication Ceremony was hosted last Thursday for three important members of the Belton Community in Heritage Park. Richard Schigut was honored as the 2012 Beltonian; Anne Jackson was honored as 2012 Citizen of the Year; and Clifton Peters was honored as Belton City Councilman 2000-2012.


Mark Arrozola from the Chamber of Commerce provided opening comments about the history of the tree dedications.

"We've been doing this for about 14 years now," Arrozola said. "Each year we plant a tree to honor Beltonians of the Year as well as Citizens of the Year along with some other important VIPs. We've planted trees for local, county, state representatives, for some of our good friends from Fort Hood. Over the 14 years that we've been doing this, we've planted more than 25 trees. They're all spread out around Heritage Park. Every year we do this around earth day, around arbor day to give back to our community, to our planet and those that serve us so well."

Schigut was named as the 2012 Beltonian of the Year. This award recognizes someone for not just what they did in 2012, but for the years of service that they gave, and to their commitment to make this community better. One of the things Schigut was involved in within the community was the creation of the Belton Senior Activity Center.

In-your-honor2"I've always enjoyed Belton," Schigut said. "I'm so happy to see it growing and becoming the city it is. It's a good place to live."

Jackson was unable to attend the ceremony, but her husband Michael was in attendance to accept her award on her behalf.

"Anne was really instrumental in helping the BAMs program get started, which is the belton area military spouse program so that families that moved to Belton from Fort Hood come here and, of course, they're new to our community, they don't know anybody, they don't know what services are available. And Anne could see a real need for a support group to help those families, so instead of saying, 'I wish Belton would do this,' Anne was the kind that made it happen," said mayor pro tem Marion Grayson. "So for that reason Anne was named the 2012 Citizen of the Year for Belton."

Grayson also provided the remarks for Peters' tree dedication on behalf of mayor Jim Covington for his work on the Belton City Council for the past 12 years.

"Cliff served as mayor pro tem for the Belton City Council, he was on the parks board, he served our community for a long time," Grayson said. "He's been an amazing advocate for the City of Belton."

These citizens are a shining example of what makes Belton the gem that it is. To see the dozens of trees planted with their engraved stones in honor of the recipient, take a stroll through Heritage Park.